Do you feel like your fundraising efforts are falling short?
If you answered yes, then stick around for five of the most common mistakes non-profits make and simple change you can make that can have an immediate impact on your ministry.
Mistake #1: No Communication Plan
I see this all the time. A goal is made to raise funds, but no plan has been made to communicate with donors about the goal. A little purposeful planning can really make all the difference.
Think about what communication your donors receive from you right now. Are you only sending them receipts and ask letters? It’s important to stop and think about what we’re trying to accomplish with our donors and prospects. Our communication plan shouldn’t ONLY be about raising funds.
Our communication plans need to be about people and relationships—this is SO important! Ask the question: how can we communicate the vision of our ministry in a way that allows us to know the people who join our cause?
Mistake #2: Talk About What Our Ministries Are Doing
Here’s the thing, when you focus on what your ministry is doing, you miss a huge opportunity to share how your donors and volunteers are the ones who bring life to the vision of your ministry.
So, talk about the work of the donors and the volunteers. This way your prospective donor can see themselves in the center of the ministry - owning its vision and results. Do you know what people do with the things they feel ownership over? They invest.
Mistake #3: Writing Long Paragraphs
Your letters, no matter their length, must be easy to read. An effective letter will highlight critical sentences that cut right to the heart of the message.
This letter will also break the text into bite site paragraphs of only two to three sentences max. This way, those that scan the page and those that take the time to read the whole letter get your message.
Mistake #4: Not Asking Why Donors Give
Did you know that most non-profits don’t know why their donors give?
How can we make a plan for effective and exciting communication if we don’t even know what matters to our donors? Here’s the good news, you don’t have to overthink this one. Just ask your donors, “Why do you give to our mission?” And then really listen. Their answers will offer you so much insight you can use to become more relevant.
Mistake #5: Just a Good Letter and Strong Ask
There is just no excuse not to be multifaceted in our communication plans. Possibility is everywhere.
There are a million things you can do through social media, email, blogs, video, snail mail, text messaging, phone calls, etc.
Here are a few examples:
Email newsletters with information about changed lives.
Innovative and fun video thank you’s that communicate a genuine spirit of appreciation.
Quick and short emails updates on how your donor’s gifts are improving lives.
Now, it’s your turn:
Think through these five mistakes and find one you are making right now. Then do something about it—today! Put it on the agenda for your next meeting. Get alone and spend time thinking about your communication plan and ask good questions like: Where are we in the process right now and where do we want to be?
Need help crafting an effective donor communication plan? You can start with our free ebook—How to Communicate Effectively with Your Donors. Download your copy here >>